This summer I had the opportunity to slaughter one of my own lambs. I have been raising sheep for 15 years, but had not eaten my own lamb until now. Some of you may think it's strange that I would even want to, while others are probably wondering what took me so long! My dad and I are the only ones in our family who are open to the idea of eating our own lamb, and I wasn't willing to pay to have someone else slaughter one for me. Now that I have my own house and freezer, and also have a friend who is a skilled butcher, I figured now was the time to try my own!
One day back in August, a few of my friends came over to help with the process. I had a little ram lamb picked out that wasn't going to make my show flock. He was adorable and thus, I couldn't watch the killing process. But, once that part was over I was fine! I'm sure many people find this hard to understand or comprehend, but I believe there is nothing wrong with eating meat and my little lamb met his demise in the quickest way possible. We decided to hang the lamb in my garage where we had a lot of room to work. There were four of us working to skin the lamb, cut it into pieces, and then package it. It was actually a fun process to see the different cuts of meat. I got around 40 lbs. of meat that is now in my freezer waiting to be cooked!
Since I didn't grow up eating lamb of my own, I've been doing a lot of searching for recipes and reading on how to best cook it. American Lamb has many great resources, as does Pinterest (of course!). Because of my love for my crockpot, I decided to start with a lamb stew. I was not disappointed! Absolutely delicious, very easy and filled with vegetables, this recipe is a keeper!
Do you have any favorite lamb recipes? If so, share them with me!
Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew
Adapted from: American Lamb
2 tbs olive oil
Salt & Pepper
2.5 lbs lamb shoulder chops, cut into 1 in. chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs. minced fresh ginger root
1 tbs. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup raisins (I left these out)
6 oz. Swiss chard, spinach or kale, rough chopped (I used kale)
Being mid-October when I made this, I was able to source many of the ingredients from my garden including the onion, the diced tomatoes (I had canned them in September) and the kale. The garlic came from a friend's garden. The lamb was of course my own, and was scraps from throughout the butchering process that my friend told me to label as "stew meat", so I can't be sure if it was shoulder or not as the recipe suggests (I actually think it might have been neck meat.).
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cook lamb until browned on all sides (about 6 minutes). Transfer browned lamb to slow cooker.
2. Add remaining 1 tbs. oil to pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayene. Cook until softened (about 8 minutes).
3. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
4. Add mixture to slow cooker with chickpeas and raisins.
5. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or high for 2 to 4 hours.
6. Remove lid; stir in chopped greens until wilted (about 1 minute).
Optional: Serve with couscous and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.